Sustaina-Mini: Morning Routine Edition
Updated: Feb 4
It's been a while since I've posted a sustaina-mini! Today I'd like to share with you my typical "getting ready" morning routine. To keep this post mini, I'm only going to include things I do every single day.
Reading this, you will see that I haven't maxed out on making my routine as eco-friendly as possible. I could just write about the eco-swaps I've successfully inserted into my routine and leave out the rest, but I want to give you an honest look at what a transition to a more sustainable lifestyle might look like. In my case, it's been slow and steady with lots of trial and error.
I also want to be clear that I don't think my particular way of getting ready is any better or worse than anyone else's. For example, if someone loves applying a full face of make-up daily, or having a bubble bath every night, or buying all the eco-friendly personal care products out there, good for them! I'm just sharing what works for me at this particular point in time (and which will likely continue to change).
Are you a morning shower person? I am. A shower helps me to wake up and feel ready for the day. The only time I don't shower before getting dressed is if I know I'll be doing a sweaty workout, in which case I'll delay my shower until after that. I try to keep my showers short and don't wash my hair every day - a plus in the winter when I don't want to deal with wet hair! I do wash my face daily though, using Spectro gel, which I buy in the largest format available to reduce the amount of packaging. I also wash my body using a bar of soap for sensitive skin (typically Dove). Nothing too fancy there!
After a shower, I apply lotion to my face and hands, and anywhere else that could use some moisturizing. I haven't tried out any natural or eco-friendly lotions (yet); I just buy any ordinary lotion and try to get it in a large bottle (again, to reduce packaging and because it's usually cheaper to buy a larger quantity).
Most days, I don't wear make-up. There was a time when I'd wear make-up almost every day but I'm hoping that I've broken that habit for good. Nowadays, I try to save make-up for certain outings, special occasions or days when I just need a little pick-me-up. Lately, that tends to be about twice a week.
As I mentioned, I don't wash my hair every day, so I'll save my hair-washing tips for another post. I also tend not to style my hair most days. Along with make-up, this is a pretty big change for me, as I used to blow-dry and straight-iron my hair several times a week. Now, when I do take the time to blow-dry and/or straighten my hair, it feels like the royal treatment! Sometimes I use a a bit of hair product for texture and to tame fly-aways. For this, I just tend to buy whatever hair product is on sale and use it sparingly.
Switching to a bamboo toothbrush has been one of the easiest swaps I've made. Before buying one, I looked around for a while and compared prices until came across a four-pack at a decent price.
I tried toothpaste tablets but even after going through a whole jar, I never quite got used to them. They cleaned my teeth really well but I found the paste that formed after chewing them to be more watery than typical toothpaste, and therefore harder to keep in my mouth. (If you're getting a gross toothpaste-dribbling-down-the-chin visual, that's pretty accurate! No thanks!) I have seen natural toothpastes on the market, but haven't been willing to spend the big bucks on them.
I've been using Routine's natural deodorant for a year now and it's my absolute favourite thing to put on every morning! Unlike deodorant sticks or gels, this deodorant paste comes in a refillable glass jar (I refill mine at Zero Waste Bulk in Waterloo) and you apply it with your fingertips. This felt a bit weird the first time but I got used to it very quickly and now my armpits feel like the most well-loved bit of skin on my whole body! This deodorant works really well, which is obviously important, but the thing that makes me swoon over it is the scent. I wear Routine's "Sexy Sadie" scent, a blend of ylang ylang, sweet orange, vanilla and cinnamon. YUM!
I should mention that this was not the first natural deodorant I tried. I also used a natural stick deodorant that came in compostable packaging (yay!) before I tried Routine's. It was pretty good and I ended up using all of it, but I found that it got crumbly after a while and would leave little bits behind as I tried to apply it. I don't regret trying it, but I'm glad I found an alternative that I'm much happier with.
So, there you have it! Those are the basic steps I go through every day to get ready.
Writing this out, I'm noticing a pattern that my morning routine is largely about what I don't do. That's actually how I feel about a lot of my sustainability efforts. It's the new clothing I didn't buy or the driving errand I didn't do because I didn't want to drive all the way across town just to accomplish one task.
I'm also noticing that my decisions on where I choose to splurge (like on my beloved deodorant) and where I choose to save money (soap, toothpaste, etc.) are highly personal and not totally rational. And that's alright with me!
I fully expect that anyone's attempt at creating a more sustainable morning routine will reflect their personal preferences as much as mine does.
I'd love to hear from you! What parts of your routine are the most indulgent or the most basic? Are there any changes you're contemplating making to green-up your morning routine? Share in the comments here or on social media.